Do you recall the recent campaign by Red Bull that tracked the longest ever sky-dive? Or have you noticed Coca Cola’s Open Happiness campaign during this year’s World Cup? Both are great examples of how brands are making more effort to connect and engage with their consumers, and both could be considered experiential marketing.
Marketing itself is a constantly changing field that is often riddled with buzzwords and key terms, especially with the onset of social media. In the past few years ‘experiential marketing’ (EM) has gained some ground, although the associated definitions can vary.
The Experiential Marketing Forum explains, “It’s about delivering meaningful and relevant messages at meaningful and relevant moments… It’s the difference between telling people about features of a product or service and letting them experience the benefits for themselves.”
Creative Guerilla Marketing tells us “Experiential marketing is about connecting consumers with brands through live face to face experiences, creating personal and relevant memories,” while a recent article on Ad Age provides a similar variety of responses that revolve around connecting brands with people, either physically or digitally.
An exact definition is difficult to pin down, but experiential marketing is basically customer engagement that integrates a person’s senses, thoughts, and emotions through a variety of mediums. Mobile has been a primary focus as a medium due to its rapid expansion and increase of accessibility.
Customers like EM because they become involved or stimulated through content or interaction that is relevant to them. Brands like it because it allows them to connect more personally to their consumers, creating memories and loyalty. By creating personal memories through an experience with a brand, consumers build trust and familiarity, ultimately helping them to make purchase decisions.
Visual and Audio Stimulation
Companies often focus on visual stimulation because of the emotions, thoughts, and reactions that visual stimulation brings. Marketers have long known that different colors elicit different emotions, that a picture of a child can stir parental instincts, that the sight of a childhood product can prompt nostalgia.
In Red Bull’s Stratos sky-diving campaign, pictures and videos were widely available and publicized, with a first-person view of the dive available. The footage provokes thoughts and emotions that Red Bull wants to be synonymous with: high adrenaline, extreme adventures, dreaming big, taking it to the limit, and so on.
Many of the same things could be said about audio marketing as visual marketing. Certain sounds elicit certain feelings, a crying baby can stir parental instincts, a childhood jingle could prompt nostalgia.
With mobile’s popularity, video has become the standard for visual and audio stimulation. However, in some cases, just having the audio portion can be as good if not better than video.
Experiential Marketing with Audible Tags
The Audible Tag in itself is a small experience for a consumer. Tags most commonly come in the form of a QR code, a small, 2D (normally black and white) square. When scanned with a mobile device, Audible Tags provide users with an audio recording. And since tags can be placed or printed on nearly anything, there are a variety of applications.
Audible Tags and audio in general let the user focus on the audio aspect, allowing the true power of voice and sound to connect with the consumer. Take the following example of shopping for a bottle of wine.
You enter a store to purchase a bottle of wine, but you aren’t exactly sure which to choose. The bottles look similar, but one has a QR code next to it. You scan the code and receive 20-40 seconds of audio information about the wine. While video could easily be implemented instead of audio, just having the audio allows the user to listen to messaging while still keeping their eyes on the bottle of wine in their hand. The audio information stirs emotion and thought within the user, and ultimately drives their purchase decision.
Experiential marketing can mean different things, but in the end, it is meant to engage customers and drive their purchase decisions. Both audio and visual stimulation work well, and companies should remain vigilant in coming up with marketing strategies that are both engaging and value adding.
Do you have an experience you would like to share about experiential marketing? Is there something you would like to add or subtract from this article? Please feel free to comment here, or have a chat with us through our social channels. @antvibes, facebook.com/antvibes
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